The Supreme Court in the United States of America is the highest federal court. It was established by article 3 of the constitution and formally recognized after the Judiciary act of 1789 was passed. It’s the largest in both size and jurisdiction. This means that it’s the last resort court. The court has a jurisdiction to listen to appellate cases and supervise the lower courts. The decision of the Supreme Court is final meaning that it cannot be appealed against by any party or court. Discussion The US Supreme Court is the highest court and has two major functions in relation to the lower courts.
The court performs the function of judicial review. This means that the court reviews the decision of a lower court to determine whether an error was made. It determines whether decisions made by the lower courts were fair. This means that this court has the ability to nullify a decision made by the lower courts if they were not up to the constitutional standards. It also have the powers to order a retrial if the first trial was not fairly done (Rehnquist, 2002). It resolves the conflicts of opinion on federal question that have arisen in the lower courts.
It fulfils this function by answering certified questions sent to it from a federal court of appeal or from the US claims court. It either gives instructions that the lower court should follow or may require the lower court to produce the record so that the Supreme Court may decide the entire case although certification is rarely used. It also examines the federal and state statutes and executive actions to determine whether they conform to the constitution. This court also hears appeals from the state and federal courts (Rehnquist, 2002).
If for example a party is not contented with a decision made by the lower court, it may appeal against the decision at the Supreme Court. This court listens to the appeals and interprets the constitution. Its decision is final and cannot be appealed against. The Supreme Court has a composition of nine judges. The current composition of the Supreme Court is conservative. This is evidenced by a recent case on gay marriages where the court ruled in favor of the proposition 8 in California. On January 2008, the court intervened in a case where the defenders supported the proposition 8.
The proposition 8 was only validating marriage between a man and a woman and illegalizing gay marriages. Lawsuits against the ballot decision were filed in the Supreme Court and the court decided to consider them. The case was in a San Francisco district court (Savage, 2010). The court came to a decision to uphold the proposition 8. It was a 5-4 decision where the conservatives were the majority. This decision shows that the court is interested in preserving the existing laws that illegalize same sex marriages.
The court has nine members and when making a decision they are divided depending on each member’s take. The members may choose to be conservative or liberal. By liberal this means that they do not support the existing laws. This court based its decision to support the defenders of proposition 8 on the existing laws that on recognize marriage between a man and a woman. Conclusion Being the largest court the Supreme Court ensures that the constitution is understood and supervises the activities of the lower courts.
The court has nine judges and is divided into conservatives and liberals. The final decision of the court is the one which makes it either liberal or conservative. REFERENCES Rehnquist, W. H. (2002). The Supreme Court. New York, NY: Vintage Savage, D. G. (2010). Gay marriage supporters fear Supreme Court’s ruling was an omen. Los Angeles Times on 17th January 2010. Retrieved on July 8 2010 from http://articles. latimes. com/2010/jan/17/nation/la-na-court-gay-marriage17-2010jan17